Unique congressional contenders include pool tech, poetry whiz

For all of the lawyers and career politicians running for Congress this year, there are also cartoonists, pastry chefs and swimming pool repairmen throwing their names in the ring. The Hill caught up with a handful of the congressional candidates whose day jobs veer outside of the conventional categories to ask them how their skills — as a hospital chaplain, for instance — would serve them should they win on Nov. 2.


Pat Brock, a swimming-pool technician, is a Libertarian candidate for Congress in Hawaii.

As a swimming-pool contractor, what do you do?
I am not a contractor. I call myself a technician. I am a repairman.
 
How’d you get interested in working with swimming pools?
As an electrician installing the electrical system for a swimming pool, I discovered that most electricians were not aware of the specialized codes pertaining to pools. So I studied pool electrical codes and began marketing myself to swimming-pool contractors.
 
What’s the most common problem with swimming pools?
Pipe and equipment leaks are the most common pool failures. Second are problems with pool and spa computerized control systems.
 
What skills do you think would be transferable to Congress?
In order to solve any problem, you must be analytical. You need to find out what parts of your system work and at what point in the system the breakdown occurs. Then, you must decide what is the most economically sized module to replace in order to restore the system.
 
In one sentence, summarize why you’re running for Congress.
People have not been treating each other well, pushing for laws that restrict others freedoms and that hobble our economic engine as a whole.

Sydney Dudikoff is an unaffiliated write-in Senate candidate in Arizona. She is the founder and director of Lilpoets Inc., a literacy organization.

Why did you decide on teaching literacy through poetry?
Teaching literacy through poetry is powerful and easily accessible because it’s all around us. For children in particular, poetry provides opportunity for self-expression, learning, sharing, speaking, reading and writing. The genre is thousands of years old, yet is young and new when learning it or reading it the first time. I love the expression on students' faces when they read “The Iliad” and other poems written hundreds of years ago.

What kinds of poems do you like to write?
I do not claim to be a poet, but a teacher of poetry. I have written two poems: “To Lie” and “To An Israeli Friend” — both on my website, www.lilpoets.org. “To Lie” is a poem to teach and expand vocabulary.

Who’s your favorite poet?
My two favorite authors are Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Louis Stevenson. Poe because he dealt into the inner desperation of the human condition; his topic on alcoholism and drug addiction were ahead of his time. Stephenson’s works appeal to a wide range of audiences — young and old. His poems are rich with metaphors, rhythm, suspense and history. My favorite poem by Poe: “The Raven.” Stephenson: “Night Winds.”

What skills do you think would be transferable to Congress?
My most important skill is the ability to reinvent myself and think “outside the box.” I stand by the conviction that education is the key to success. Poverty of the mind is the worst poverty that afflicts mankind. The last ten years, I taught at poverty schools in the Phoenix Metro area, and I can only state that it’s a disgrace that we are creating a system of “second class” citizens.

In one sentence, summarize why you’re running for Congress.
I am running for Congress so that I can represent an underrepresented demographic of Arizona (women, Hispanics, Native Americans) and the education professionals who are truly unsung heroes, but are constantly used as scapegoats for our failing educational system.


James Lankford (R), running for a House seat in Oklahoma, is a youth camp director.

How’d you get in the youth camp business?
I had the opportunity to positively influence thousands of people by serving as the director of Falls Creek Youth Camp, the largest Christian camp in America with more than 50,000 people attending in the summer.
 
What’s your favorite camp activity?
The highlight of camp for me was interacting with people from different places and walks of life.

What’s the best way to roast a marshmallow?
Since open flames are not allowed on the grounds, grilling marshmallows is most effective.

What skills do you think would be transferable to Congress?
 I understand working hard, managing a large business and serving people.
 
In one sentence, summarize why you’re running for Congress.
God called me to leave my private life and to serve as a citizen legislator in Congress for a season bringing fresh ideas and new leadership.

Merlin Froyd, an actor and car salesman, is a GOP House candidate in California.

As an actor, what’s your dream role?
That of a performer in a variety show along the lines of the "Carol Burnett Show."

What national politician would you like to play?
Due to the complexity and tragedy of the man, I would enjoy playing Richard Nixon.

As a car salesman, what’s the hardest kind of car to sell?
4x4 manual pickup trucks within the San Fernando Valley. (Los Angelenos prefer fuel economy and drivability to durability and towing.)

What skills from both acting and selling cars do you think would be transferable to Congress?
From acting, I have developed the ability to remember conversations, places and times, as well as the ability to communicate, whether to an individual or a large audience. My sales experience has refined my negotiation skills.

In one sentence, summarize why you’re running for Congress.
I am running for Congress to restore the balance by bringing common-sense solutions through compassion and fiscal responsibility.